More than 330,000 people filed new claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week. That sounds like a big number — and is a slight increase over the previous week — but it's being taken as some very good news. For a month, now, fewer new people are asking for unemployment insurance than at any time since November, 2007. That's before the Great Recession.
Iowa City librarian Jason Paulios pulls out his smartphone, enters his library-card number and begins downloading an album by local metal band Blizzard at Sea.
"So it's extracting now," he says, eyes on the screen. "It's at about 90 percent."
The download takes about five minutes to complete. Paulios says it's a great way to check out local music: You could be waiting for a concert to start, download an album by the band you're about to see and then listen to it on the way home.
It's back-to-school season for college students — and President Obama plans to be right there with them.
The president will spend the next two days on a bus tour of New York and Pennsylvania that includes stops at three colleges and a high school. At each stop, he'll be talking about ways to make college more affordable.
The president's big black bus will make its first stop at the University at Buffalo on Thursday — the same day incoming freshmen will be moving in, hauling suitcases and mini-refrigerators.
When the drug company Merck Animal Health announced plans to suspend sales of its Zilmax feed additive last week, many observers were shocked.
Yet concern about Zilmax and the class of growth-promotion drugs called beta agonists has been building for some time. In an interesting twist, the decisive pressure on Zilmax did not come from animal welfare groups or government regulators: It emerged from within the beef industry itself, and from academic experts who have long worked as consultants to the industry.
For years, Miami-Dade County Public Schools faced problems common to many urban schools: low attendance, high dropout rates, poor grades. But since 2008, Alberto Carvalho has been in charge of the nation's fourth largest school district, and there've been some noticeable improvements in Miami schools. More students are graduating, fewer are dropping out, test scores are up and the district's budget crisis has faded.
NPR's Claudio Sanchez has this profile of the man some call a miracle worker.
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San Diego's embattled mayor Bob Filner has wrapped up a second day of closed-door mediation to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Meanwhile, the debate continues among the city's voters about what should happen to the mayor. NPR's Nathan Rott reports while many want to see Filner resign, others are pleading for patience.
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Fire managers in Idaho say they may be turning the corner on a massive wildfire near the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley. The Beaver Creek fire has caused more than 11-and-a-half million dollars and forced mandatory evacuations of more than 2,000 homes. Sadie Babits of Boise State Public Radio reports.